“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
those who trespass against us.” Matthew 6.9

Pastor Dean Snyder of Foundry United Church in his Easter Morning sermon cited this passage from the Lord's Prayer to support his contention that with respect to 9/11 we should stop remembering the hatred associated with this trespass against us. He then symbolically sprinkled pure water on the sanctuary floor to dramatize that cleansing of hatred.

As a nation we were stunned when in four simultaneous air strikes 2,766 Americans and others were killed or severely wounded. There were 460 first responders killed our injured. Rev. Snyder notes however that the 19 Terrorists were killed in the four airplane crashes and that since then master perpetrator Osama bin Laden was shot to death and buried at sea.

Our remembering that sustains hatred has been enormously expensive in American lives and the lives of others. . For the record in the decade since 9 /11 U.S. retaliatory military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan has suffered 6,000 killed and 43,000 wounded.. These wars have already cost more than one trillion dollars and climbing. The costs in innocent lives lost and property destroyed in these two counties is astounding. Domestically the post 9/11 financial costs for Homeland Security are monumental. The foot and other body searches are humiliating and the transportation operating costs are beyond measurements.

There are ample precedents for another way to forgive and forget those who have militarily trespassed against us. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and their simultaneous conquest and enslavement of a huge part of Asia is now fading into history. The United States post war occupation of Japan and the preservation of the position of Emperor gave us means of introducing Democracy into that previously isolated country. For example recent celebrations on the graves of sailors entombed in the Battleship Arizona have witnessed a strengthening bond between United States and Japanese citizens who served in the military of their country during the subsequent war..

On the other side of the world we responded to the Nazi declaration of war against the United States by an incredibly successful military operation. Again our post war response was the Marshall plan. The United States contributed great sums of money to rebuild houses, factories and infrastructure for the German people. In short the United States of America is now leader of the free world in part because we have both declared and practiced the forgiveness requirements from the Lord's Prayer.

More recently we and our allies are withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan. We are joined by Germany and Japan and most of the rest of the world in trying to persuade Iran from developing nuclear war capacity and North Korea from forging atomic missiles. Again with the help of much of the world we are supporting the masses fighting for reform in what we call the “Arab Spring “.

The teachings of Jesus Christ on forgiveness are a part of most of the world's religions and central to the practices of the world’s Psychiatrists and Psychologists. These teachings were initially focused on the individual's relationship to God and to his or her fellow humans. A very strong case is now being made that this forgiveness is crucial to the relationships of nations.

The Easter Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ at Foundry gave us a fresh opportunity to remember that Christ is called the Prince of Peace and …why.

Rev. Bernard F. Hillenbrand


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